Tuesday morning, hundreds of Bibb students rode the bus on their first day back to school, and buses in Bibb County are carrying something extra this year. The district partnered with an organization called Busguard, and now 55 buses now have new external cameras.
Passing a school bus could put your student at risk to be hit or killed, and still hundreds of drivers do it anyway while the red stop sign is flashing. “Being in student transportation, we see this. We know that it happens,” said Anthony Jackson, Director of Transportation with Bibb Schools. “Some make the mistake of passing a school bus, and some do it purposefully.”
During a survey in 2015, 105 Bibb bus drivers documented 130 illegal passing violations in one day.
That's more than one violation per bus, but Jackson says the district hopes a new camera system will hold drivers accountable. “Right now, we have 55 school buses that are equipped,” said Jackson.
It's a seven-camera system that's constantly rolling while the bus is in motion. The new external camera system will mark when a child steps on or off a bus. That's the most dangerous part of the drive. “The information will be downloaded and reviewed. If there's a violation that information will be forwarded with the Sheriff's Office,” said Jackson.
Captain Brad Wolfe with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office hopes it gives his patrol unit an extra set of eyes on the road. “It’s a pretty advanced system that should be pretty effective,” said Wolfe. “People, when you get these citations, it's just an educational thing. Just don't do it. It's not worth it.”
Stopping for your car for just a few moments, could ensure that more students make it home unharmed. “Nobody wants to hit a child with their car. We don't want that to happen,” said Captain Wolfe.
The fine for illegally passing a school bus starts at $300, and could go as high as $1,000 for multiple offenses. If you receive a fine, Captain Wolfe says it will be mailed to you.